Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Weathering the Storm


There’s nothing like a hurricane warning to send you into frantic mode, bringing your normal everyday routine to a screeching halt. 

You join your fellow neighbors and race around gathering supplies. You ponder what you might want to eat over the next five days that doesn't require cooking or refrigeration.

You wait in line at the gas station to fuel up your car, unearth your flashlights from under the kitchen sink, and buy 67 {or so} packages of batteries in assorted sizes. 



You move every single plant and piece of outdoor furniture into your garage, then carefully park your car in between the dangling legs of the stacked patio chairs, dodge the potted palms {that didn’t look so big until they were in your garage}, and make your way into your house.

You’re ready to hunker down so you turn on the TV to stare at the enormous swirling satellite image of the storm for the next who-knows-how-many-hours and watch reporters yell over the wind and waves at the beach.

You get yourself a drink {but not one of the precious water bottles you’ve managed to procure} and you wait. 

You’ve now got plenty of time on your hands.



I get started on my own personal hurricane preparation that also includes doing laundry and washing my hair. Because I remember the last hurricane {actually three in a row one summer} that swept through Central Florida.

The winds whipped around my just-purchased brand new house after midnight and sent my neighbor’s tree crashing into my yard, taking the power lines down with it. I was without power for a week and without TV or internet for three weeks.

Although I live in a different neighborhood now with buried power lines {with lower odds for a power outage}, I wanted plenty of coffee-comfort on hand, just in case.

I managed to grab the last thermos at SuperTarget since it guaranteed to keep 8 cups of coffee piping hot for 24 hours. 



So at 4:30 am when the winds started howling around my house, I raced downstairs to brew the coffee and poured it into my new supersized thermos. 

I figured since I was awake, I might as well have a cup, grab a scone and keep an eye on the TV reports.

That’s when I heard the news that the storm had wobbled to the east just a smidge and that slight jog would prevent hurricane force winds from coming inland to reach Orlando. 

Rather miraculous, I think.

I realized a storm sure can brew up a host of challenges but it can also wash in a tide of opportunity. 



It calls on us to trust and get a tighter grip on our faith so it won't slip when the waves surge.

It offers us the opportunity to have peace that's beyond our understanding despite the chaos raging around us.

It summons courage from a reservoir we didn't know was filled and ready for us to access, and it calls forth grace that we didn't know we wanted to offer.

And it invites us to begin again.

Because after the storm subsides, we find the wind gusts have blown through our hair and the floodwaters have soaked our shoes, but we're still standing.


Then God cracks open the storm shutters in the midst of the wind and rain and gives us a glimpse of where he might be taking us, and we take a deep breath and plunge ahead.

Our storms have created more space for us to experience and deeply soak in what he's doing. 

For beyond those storms, we catch a little peek at our very own promised land.

It may not look anything like we've imagined and it might be a completely different location than where we originally thought we were heading, but it's there waiting for us to conquer the giants and enter into it.

But not just yet.


The vision isn't very clear yet, but we can see it out there in the distance. 

It's not meant for right now, but for a future time. In God's flawless and impeccable timing, he will bring it to pass.

And that gives us the courage to persevere. 


Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he brought them out of their distress.

He stilled the storm to a whisper;
    the waves of the sea were hushed.

They were glad when it grew calm,
    and he guided them to their desired haven. 


After the worst of the storm passed, I realized I didn’t need the brewed-ahead coffee after all. I never lost power at my house. 

But I wondered if I could depend on the thermos when it counted, so twelve hours after I made it, I poured myself a cup. 

The coffee was still piping hot. Promise kept.

So I’ll just hold onto my giant thermos and {nearly} 67 batteries for next time.

Because when you live in Florida, you know there's probably another fierce tropical storm coming your way in the future. 

But for now, in the aftermath, I'm rejoicing and reveling in the exquisite, delicate and very restful calm that only comes after the storm.



I'm having coffee with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart. Join me there to read posts from my blogger friends!






22 comments:

  1. It's amazing how many learnings you've been able to so quickly gather from the storm, my friend. First of all, I'm grateful you and yours are safe.

    And I think I want to go back and re-read all that you gathered in. Not the potted plants and chairs. But the truths that will last for eternity.

    Blessings as you all recover ...

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    1. Linda,
      Thanks for your prayers and good wishes! When you have a little time on your hands, it offers room for reflection! :) Thank you for always being here! xo

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  2. Hi Valerie,
    So thankful that you are safe & secure after the storm! You have been in my prayers this last week! I loved this thought: "Then God cracks open the storm shutters in the midst of the wind and rain and gives us a glimpse of where he might be taking us, and we take a deep breath and plunge ahead." Sometimes I would rather He NOT crack open the shutters, as I would like to hunker down under the covers until everything is bright and sunny again. But your words are so true--we need that glimpse during the middle of the wind and rain, to keep our courage and faith focused on Him. Thank you for sharing your heart with us again! --Blessings and Hugs!

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    1. Hi Bettie,
      I've so appreciated your prayers! And I agree that sometimes we would like to stay under the covers until the sun shines again, but sometimes we have to walk out into the rain and let it soak us, don't we? Our anchor in the storm is our refuge too! xoxo

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  3. So glad you all made it through relatively unscathed! (sometimes the waiting and prepping is harrowing in and of itself!) I love the spin you put on the lessons after the storm. When we can look on any opposition as opportunity instead, then we're truly on the right track. Storms make us stronger, help us sort out what's important (coffee- always!!LOL!) and sometimes it takes one for God to dislodge us from our usual charted courses so we can rediscover his intended path for us. For EVERYTHING there is a season. Praying with you girl! Hope you all have a lovely trip this weekend to Atlanta!! ♥

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    1. Heather,
      You said it -- the waiting and prepping is more stressful sometimes! But riding out the storm isn't so fun either, although this one was certainly an exception -- and I'm so grateful! Rediscovering his path for us . . . YES! Love that! Thank you for the good wishes for Atlanta! xoxo

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  4. I'm so grateful you were spared, Valerie. I love this truth - "Our storms have created more space for us to experience and deeply soak in what he's doing." You have such a beautiful way of wording. :) As always, your photos are awesome. I especially love the last one, the calm after the storm. Blessings and hugs to you!

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    1. Hi Trudy,
      I bet you could capture so incredible storm images out where you live - -cyclones and dust storms and such?! :) Of course, who would want to go out in the middle of them with a camera? :) I'm so thankful our area was spared but my heart goes out to those who weren't. xoxo

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  5. So glad that you're safe, Valerie. In CA we don't really contend with hurricanes, just earthquakes, which we've grown pretty accustomed too. I love your perspective on the storms - we don't always see the lesson when the water recedes but in time, God proves His purpose. I'm so grateful that He always gets us to the other side - even though that means trudging through the mud now and again. Hugs, friend.

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    1. Hi Tiffany,
      Earthquakes are a different breed of a storm I think, and I guess each area has its own to contend with! But yes, God does get us to the other side -- so grateful! xo

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  6. Hi Valerie- i am so glad you are ok and didn’t even loose power! We loose power here so easily and it makes things so hard. Having a hurricane of my own this week slowing me down- (pneumonia) and it is so hard for me to hunker down and wait this thing out. Thank you for reminding me it will end and there will be blessing in the slowing and I can find Jesus here in the storm too! Glad to connect with you here today! with much love xox

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    1. Oh Susie -- I'm praying for your recovery and sending thoughts for good health your way! You are right that there are so many storms in life that can take us out but there's only one hope for healing and for strength! xoxox

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  7. Each time we go through a storm He prepares us for the next one, doesn't He? Even with a coffee mug and batteries! I'm glad the storm was less than expected and everyone is okay. I know He's still teaching me to let go of the sides of the boat when in the waves. I still want to control! Last night at a study, Psalm 107 was one of our scriptures too, reminding us of God's never - ending faithfulness. May your week continue to be an experience of His peace and calm after the storm.

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    1. Lynn,
      Your comments here are always so beautiful - -just like you! I just love those verses in Psalm 107 -- they are so comforting and yes, his faithfulness is never-ending! Thank you for sharing your words here - always! xo

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  8. Valerie, your space here is a respite in an ugly world. I'm so glad the storm passed you by, and also that you may never need to buy batteries again. :-) Mostly, though, I'm grateful for the image of God cracking open the shutters and giving us a glimpse of the promised land He has prepared for us. When we get there, only He knows. But you are so right ... trusting in His promises does provide courage to persevere. Have a wonderful Thursday, my friend!

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    1. Hi Lois,
      Thank you so much for sharing this space with me, friend! Love it that God does give us a glimpse occasionally to hearten us for the journey so that we can continue forward, looking for what he promises.

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  9. So grateful to be neighbors today :) God's got so many good things, and when we can see beyond that storm....it's so very beautiful. Thanks for the encouragement!

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    1. Hi Becky,
      Yes, if we can only see past the storm, the other side holds treasures of its own!

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  10. I am so happy to hear you are safe! I had been wondering. Last week was scary, but yes, the calm after the storm is definitely exquisite. :)

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    1. Sarah,
      Storms do challenge us, don't they? But there's always something hidden in those dark clouds that we can tuck away for encouragement!

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  11. I am glad that the storm was not as bad for your area and that you are safe. I am glad your thermos works. Smart planning. It got me to think though how prepared you were because of how many other storms you went through. It is kinda cool that God puts us through many storms of life and when we go through a similar one like before, we are prepared and equipped a little bit more. just a thought. hope you have a good weekend

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    1. Hi Kristina,
      I love that perspective! Each storm prepares us a little better for what's ahead so we can build on it -- brilliant thought -- wish I had woven that in a little bit! :) xo

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